Honestly, I’m not very competitive and never have been.  In fact, I often seem to stop in the middle of things almost as if to prove that I don’t have to prove anything?  I love to leave a party when I’m really having fun;  have hardly ever closed a place down.  I took to going back down the hill before I got to the top, when I really could have gotten to the top without too much more trouble.  Only ever done a few fun runs, and strictly for fun, later to become fun walks, which weren’t nearly as much fun.

So there was a fun run posted at the community center door for the past month or so.   A brightly colored poster with a logo in the middle with a dog with a Mexican hat.  Billed as a fun/walk/run with dogs to raise money for various community needs, including of course the dog shelter.  There was 5K and 1K distances offered, and prizes for dog costumes, food stands, live band, etc.   Sounded fun and I’d already met quite a few of the “dog people”  (sounds like a some chimeron or wolf man doesn’t it?)  on the beach when walking my dog.  I knew Ron wouldn’t want to walk as fast as I would like too, we’ve already established that even in normal circumstances, so I bought HIM the T-shirt for the event, and received a number, a Baja Bark waterbottle and a poo bag in a canvas Loreto bag.

I trained.  Seriously, kind of.  Because I like to walk for excercize anyway in the morning when it’s cool, I just stepped it up to where I was swinging my arms and breathing harder, turning red in the face and sweating by the time I’d rounded the golf course and hit the beach at the end of my 40 min walk.   I was going to do the 5K but two things changed my mind.  One was I realized they were starting at eleven, which meant it was going to be getting pretty hot by then.  I’m still a bit of a heat wimp, although I have finally stopped getting heat rash.  The second was after climbing the rock (you may have seen “the point” a nice big rock on the beach which we have photographed and I have painted) with Ron to shoot photos one early morning,  I had difficulty bearing weight on my knee and it hurt more than It has ever hurt before.   Now this is the knee I broke and had repaired while vaulting (PE, NOT competition!) in highschool.  I had not been wearing my brace at all lately and simply hadn’t been having any trouble with it (bone on bone medially, too soon for new knee) until we did that hike.  I chilled.  Really chilled; lots of ice and ibuprofen for a few days, and whatever else I could get my hands on.  I wore my brace.  I wore my orthotics in my tennis shoes.  Even when walking on the beach when I REALLY would have rather continued going barefoot.  So, thankfully, swelling went down, pain went away completely and several days before The Baja Bark I was good to go.

I bathed and shaved my dog.  It was time to shave her again anyway.  Much easier to hose her off after the beach that way.  I gave her checkerboard hair. (for any readers that don’t know Moxy, she is a Standard Poodle, so shaving a design into her coat was not too hard a trick).  I put on her pink jester type collar with little hearts and tinkly bells.  I put on her doggles.  She doesn’t like them.  We got them for when she rides on the motorcycle but we found she really couldn’t see too well with them on, so I bribed her with cheese to wear them.  She will do anything for cheese.  I put on my brace.  I put on a pink boa and sunglasses to kind of match my dog.   Ron fastened my racing number to the back.   We walked a block to the golf clubhouse, which they took over for the event.  There were booths of fabulous homemade tortillas, kettle corn, so sweet smelling, hot dogs with fried onions and all of the fixins’, skewers of vegetables and shrimp or chicken, lemonade, beer by the can, wine by the bottle, water jugs for the doggies, art and crafted jewelry, very nice to just so-so.   Money was going from everything to the “old folks care” to homeless dog sheltering, and there were many dogs there that were leashed and hoping to find a home that day. 

It was good to see so many families from the town show up.  I’d been dismayed at other events that it seemed they hadn’t even been invited.  There was a celebration of the completion of a certain garden area when we first arrived  and Ron went to check it out.  I asked him if there were any Mexicans there and he said no, only serving.   I asked him who made the garden…well you know the answer to that.  I must add that I have been appalled at the classism I’ve seen demonstrated by otherwise really nice people.  Our favorite remark from the Americans and Canadians has been;  “Oh don’t pay them too much.  They will come to expect it!”  I said to my fellow painter, ….yes….and then?    Like maybe they would be able to afford to live here too?  Disturbing.

Anyway, this event was delightfully inclusive and I laughed and laughed as Moxy and I waited at the 1K “holding area” watching a well represented Mexican family with the 7 year old handling a beagle puppy, the grampa (abuelo) handling a young shiney coated chocolate lab, Dad with a very chubby beagle/hound type, and another child with a “spuds mckenzie” type dog and various and sundry fast moving Chihuahuas, moving more quickly than their masters in a clockwise motion, wrapping people up like a maypole till Dad fell down holding his kid in his arms laughing with mouths wide open, safely on the nice green turf.  There were some canine romances going on and a few feisty growlings, but nothing that made me worry.  Moxy enjoyed rolling around on her back in the grass acting silly.  It finally dawned on me that she hadn’t got to lay on any grass for quite a long time now.  There simply isn’t any cool green grass except on the golf course.

Finally it was time to do our thing and I was happy to see Margaret, one of my painting buddies, was there with her dog Sophie, a Brussels griffon (I’ll try and send a photo; I love that dog) sporting a red bow.  The kazoo started the runners, then the walkers.   We walked pretty fast, and had to ditch Margaret to catch up with some high speed kids.  As we walked along swinging elbows, tails wagging, depending on species, it occurred to me that I was going to have to let that little kid win.   He was really running his butt off, and his Dad was doing such a great job, encouraging him to keep going, yet letting him have fun all at the same time.  But they were actually in the running race and a long legged healthy looking gal about twentyfive years my junior came up behind me and it was clear that she really knew how to “race walk.’    I have always called this “silly walking” with a nod to Monty Python, and refused to do it in public, but I swallowed my pride and then spit it out again as I commenced to become competitive and silly walked my way to a blue ribbon with my checkerboard dog.

And here I am, the day after, happy to report that I can still walk without a limp!

3 thoughts on “BAJA BARK

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